Have you ever thought that using a nice image could help your students to improve their oral skills?
After coming across this site I thought why not looking for nice images to foster impromptu speaking. Impromptu speech is one of the most difficult areas of speaking, mainly because of the short time you have to prepare your words. In the classroom, this is a very useful tool to see how well students have developed their communication skills, and how good their command of the oral language is. And, instead of giving students a topic to talk about, I thought of providing them some images for them to relate to anything they like.

Sites with excellent royalty free images:

Impromptu Speech Ideas:


{September 27, 2010}   Giving Presentations

When you are giving a presentation, you usually talk in front of a group of people in a clear, structured way (about a certain topic). Presentations are a very useful tool for teachers to make students develop different skills and study strategies.

How to succeed in giving presentations?

Must-remember tips:

  • Before the presentation, be sure you have all your materials ready.
  • Introduce yourself and the topic of your presentation. The audience needs to know who is talking and what is he/she talking about.
  • Be ready not to read all the time, people will get bored!
  • Keep the presentation simple, giving new and significant content. Remember that your audience can read the full paper later, and look for information on the net.
  • Show your knowledge of the topic: be ready to answer any question that may arise!
  • Always remember that the end of the presentation is as important as the beginning!

Tips, useful language and tons of ideas:

This year I’ve started working in an innovative way with an advanced-level group of students. They improve their vocabulary and grammar as the topics we work with ask for, and we use videos to prompt speaking.

For example:

– An episode of The Big Bang Theory was the starting point of a long discussion on intelligence. We worked with the concept of intelligence, IQ and EQ and multiple intelligences.

– A TV series from the 1980s that I discovered not long ago and I loved, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, was very useful to describe British humour. We worked with all types of humour: cartoons, different types of graphic and oral jokes, and I decided to include something particular of the culture they are studying.

– One episode of my favourite TV series, Dr Who, will be used next week to describe time travel and the future.

Today, I came across these short clips that are not only awesome to watch but also very interesting to prompt discussion among your students.

– you see? It didn’t take too long for me to come back!

{September 22, 2009}   Helping Students Talk

Perhaps the most difficult thing that teachers face is making students develop their oral skills properly. Sometimes, we have few practice opportunities to offer, other times, students may not be so interested in talking in the target language. So, what can we do to help our students talk in English?

  1. Be a model. Use English in the classroom, when talking to fellow teachers and students.
  2. Place visual aids in your classroom. You can use pictures, common phrases, etc. to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  3. We must count on the idea that they must have some kind of opinion on simple issues such as food, music, TV. Work on those topics for some weeks to help the students gain confidence in themselves, and then, switch to more difficult topics.
  4. Try to give them striking topics to talk about. If you have tweens or teens, you may enjoy listening to their opinions on Internet usage (fotolog, facebook and all those social networks they like) and on urban tribes.
  5. Help them activate their prior knowledge through brainstorming exercises, through texts, etc. Be ready to collect any ad you find in magazines!
  6. Why don’t you use a video or a listening text as a starting point? There are many resources on the Internet that you may find interesting for discussing with your students!
  7. Remember that, speaking and listening go hand in hand! Provide as much opportunities for listening activities as you can!

Here are some links that may provide some leads.

{March 12, 2008}   Gorey’s ABCs

So finally classes started at the institute where I work… and my first class seems to be 1st Children (too many 1sts this year for me :P)
As I was preparing Wednesday’s class, I thought how one could work the alphabet with teens (yeah, sometimes you need to teach how to pronounce the different letters!) and that triggered another google search.

I came across very interesting worksheets, but the funniest of all, for teens, was this one (video from youtube to enjoy!)

Jesus In A Sidecar – The Alphabet Song (The Gashlycrumb Tinies)
by Edward Gorey

a is for amy who fell down the stairs
b is for basil assaulted by bears
c is for clara who wasted away
d is for desmond thrown out of a sleigh
e is for ernest who choked on a peach
f is for fanny sucked dry by a leech
g is for george smothered under a rug
h is for hector done in by a thug
i is for ida who drowned in a lake
j is for james who took lye by mistake
k is for kate who was struck by an axe
l is for leo who swallowed some tacks
m is for maud who was swept out to sea
n is for neville who died of ennui
o is for olive run through with an awl
p is for prue trampled flat in a brawl
q is for quentin who sank in a mire
r is for rhoda consumed by fire
s is for susan who perished of fits
t is for titus who flew into bits
u is for una who slipped down a drain
v is for victor squashed under a train
w is for winnie embedded in ice
x is for xerxes devoured by mice
y is for yorick whose head was knocked in
z is for zillah who drank too much gin

You see? There’s material for teaching the ABCs to everyone!

PS: Check the related videos! They may be interesting!

et cetera